EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA Updates FOIA Regs to Promote Transparency and Affordability of Information Concerning Environmental Justice Issues

On September 7, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was updating its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations through its Phase II FOIA final rule. This “modernization,” is part of EPA’s continued efforts to advance transparency – here, by improving the EPA’s FOIA program through a renewed focus on accountability, affordability, and better access to information for communities of color with environmental justice concerns. The final rule is a wider part of the Biden Administration’s general promise to prioritize consideration of communities …

Continue Reading
Sun, Global warming from the sun and burning, heatwave hot sun, climate change

Oregon’s Multnomah County Sues Fossil Fuel Companies Seeking $50M for Purported “Heat Dome” Heatwaves

Oregon’s most populous county, and home to Portland, sued more than a dozen oil, gas, and coal companies for over $50 million in damages related to a 2021 “heat dome” the county alleges was caused by the defendants’ contributions to climate change.

Multnomah County, which filed the civil suit in June, is also seeking no less than $1.5 billion from the defendants to pay for potential damage from future extreme heat events, and another $50 billion to study, plan, and protect people and Oregon’s infrastructure …

Continue Reading
People are holding banner signs while they are going to a demonstration against climate change

Montana Ruling May Preface Nationwide Increase in Judicial Environmental Mandates

In what could be the start of a national trend, a state court judge recently ruled that Montana’s government must do more to protect the state and its residents from climate change. 

State District Judge Kathy Seeley, citing a state constitutional right to a clean environment, ruled in favor of a group of youth plaintiffs and invalidated a pair of laws prohibiting state agencies from considering the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions. According to Judge Seeley, “[t]he degradation to Montana’s environment, and the resulting harm to Plaintiffs, …

Continue Reading
EPA Offices, Washington DC

FDA to EPA: Pump the Brakes on New EtO Rules During Supply Chain Shortage

With COVID diagnoses spiking across the United States this summer, we cannot yet claim that the pandemic is behind us. In fact, we are still experiencing residual medical device and equipment shortages, which has caused medical providers to spend billions on alternative sterile medical products and even implementing rations in some cases. Complicating the issue is the fact that, typically, only a handful of manufacturers and suppliers distribute these life-saving products, so alternatives can be difficult to procure. Shortages appear to be endangering other …

Continue Reading
Train Arriving at New York Subway Station

New Jersey Trying to Throttle NY Congestion Pricing

No one can dispute that the New York subway system, operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was a marvel of 20th century engineering. With a total of about 850 miles of track, more than 450 stations in operation, and moving around 6 million people per day, it is no wonder it remains the busiest mass-transit system in the western world. Then again, no one would confuse the MTA for its worldly counterparts in, say, London or Japan, where state-of-the-art train cars are run on …

Continue Reading
workers in a cement factory work outdoors with a tablet planning their work and checking concrete structures

EPA Revises Carbon Tetrachloride Risk Determination to Protect Worker Health and Fenceline Communities

Carbon tetrachloride (CTC) is a solvent used as a raw material in commercial settings to produce chemicals such as hydrofluoroolefins for refrigerants, aerosol propellants, foam-blowing agents, chlorinated compounds, and agricultural products.

Notably, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of CTC in consumer products in 1970. Additionally, in 1996, CTC was phased out from production in the United States for most domestic uses that did not involve manufacturing other chemicals as a result of requirements under the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air …

Continue Reading
White peeling paint wall

EPA Proposes Stronger Lead Paint Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency announced July 12 “a proposal to strengthen requirements for the removal of lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 buildings and child care facilities… to better protect children and communities from the harmful effects of exposure to dust generated from lead paint…” The agency estimates that the rule, if finalized, could “reduce the lead exposures of approximately 250,000 to 500,000 children under age six per year,” in furtherance of the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Effects — …

Continue Reading
Laboratory glassware with dropper dripping liquid into test tube with light blue liquid close up macro photography.

Premanufacture Notices and Significant New Use Notices for PFAS Face Uphill Climb Under New TSCA PFAS Framework

Introducing new PFAS into the market or using existing ones for new purposes likely just got much harder as the EPA has established a new framework requiring an intensive scientific review process that likely will result in restrictions or even bans. The “Framework for TSCA New Chemicals Review of PFAS Premanufacture Notices (PMNs) and Significant New Use Notices (SNUNs)” comes under the TSCA New Chemicals Program, which “regulates chemicals in a manner that promotes technological innovation while ensuring that chemicals are safe to …

Continue Reading

NJ PFAS Alert: Solvay Enters $393 Million Settlement with Garden State to Remediate Contamination

New Jersey just announced a proposed $393 million settlement with Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC that would ensure the remediation of contamination near Solvay’s facility in West Deptford that manufactures plastic components for consumer products. This contamination included the release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

The proposed settlement commits Solvay to: 

  • Pay for and implement comprehensive remedial activities at and in the vicinity of its West Deptford facility; 
  • Provide financial support for certain public water system upgrades necessary to remove PFAS from drinking water; 
Continue Reading
EPA Offices, Washington DC

EPA’s New Renewable Fuel Standards Add Biofuel to the Fire

The Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule establishing biofuel volume requirements for 2023 to 2025 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program on June 21. The Rule aims to reduce the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of oil by approximately 130,000 to 140,000 barrels of oil per day by requiring annual volumes of renewable fuels to be used in the fuel supply. While the EPA boasts that the rule reflects its ongoing efforts to “ensure stability of the program for years to come, …

Continue Reading